Mumbai: The stations on Harbour line of Central railway has least accessibility and infrequent train services, revealed a study by a city-based institute. A team of professors conducted a gender audit of women commuters travelling in all the three lines in order to assess the gender relevant accessibility aspects and shortcomings.
The Centre for Urban Policy and Governance of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) conducted the study in 2015 and was completed in early 2017. This study was conducted as a part of Mumbai Urban Transportation Project (MUTP) and submitted to Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) in the month of September 2017. The study particularly focused on stations on the suburban section namely between Vasai-Virar route on western line and stations on the Harbour line. The stations on the Harbour line had no inter-modal transport connectivity for women commuters travelling late at night.
“We interviewed a total number of at least 1,000 women commuters on all the three lines for this study. The women commuters travelling on the Harbour line complained of infrequent train services, frequent blocks and also lack of station amenities. Few also said that there is a need of improving the response mechanism to emergency situation during their travel,” said a Ratoola Kundu, assistant professor. The study wasconducted by School of Habitat Studies, TISS.
The study also revealed that stations like Vashi lacked lighting and inter-modal transport system and Koparkhairne station is improper in terms of design. “Women commuters at Vashi who travelled late at night complained that they did not find any auto-rickshaws after they alighted at the station,” added the professor.
The women commuters at Vashi station also complained that the station is deserted at night which also raises concern over the aspect of their security. “We found out that the stations need to be well light for the women commuters to feel safe while alighting at the station late at night. The station is also deserted in the evening which worsens the security of women commuters,” added a professor from TISS.
The study also highlighted the fact that out of the three lines, the western line was more privileged line in terms of frequency and reliability of services. In terms of security, the women commuters complained of incidents of chain snatching when the train slows down before reaching stations like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Churchgate. “The women commuters claimed that the thieves entered their train compartments after finding that the train has slowed down before reaching a station. There have been several incidents of theft and robbery on this stretch,” added the professor.
The women commuters who were interviewed also provided suggestions on basic amenity and train services on all three lines. “The women commuters suggested to increase the stopping time of the train to one minute as it would help them to board the trains without causing accidents. The commuters also suggested to increase the frequency of ladies’ special train as per the proportion of the women commuters,” added the professor.